This is the flipside of the story published on This Site last weekend, in which a woman set herself alight in a local government housing office.
That story was horrifying enough, as it was about a person who deliberately set herself alight, for reasons that may never be clarified, considering the lack of interest shown by the news media.
This one is equally horrifying, if not more so. It indicates that irresponsible kids have been emboldened to believe they can burn property belonging to someone else, and even flirt with murder, with impunity.
It is possible to suggest that government policy is responsible for the shameful behaviour of this gang of parasites; not only have the Tories encouraged an atmosphere in which the homeless are considered to be less-than-human – while implementing cuts that mean rough sleeping has increased by 169 per cent, but they have also reduced police numbers beyond the point at which preventative law enforcement is feasible.
So we end up with a situation in which many people reading the following story will say to themselves, “Who cares if the police couldn’t do anything? It was only some homeless bum.”
Riiiight. But success at eluding capture means these people will become bolder. What will you do when they walk into your home and start making a mess of it – and you?
A group of teenagers are being sought after by police after a homeless man was set on fire in Northampton.
The 49-year-old rough sleeper, believed to have early onset dementia, was bedded down in a bus shelter when they struck.
Bianca Todd, his niece-in-law, was reportedly driving past the shelter when she noticed a number of people standing near him. She got out of the car and saw flames rising from the bottom of his sleeping bag.
Ms Todd said that another rough sleeper told her the teenagers were responsible, although this has not been confirmed by police.
“I went to go and put it out but he was fast asleep, he didn’t realise he was on fire,” she told the Northampton Chronicle. “If his friend hadn’t have spotted him, he would be dead.”
I publicised it on Facebook, to several pages and groups.
Today, I received the following from Facebook:
“Facebook Help Team
“Someone asked us to review one of your posts because they thought you might be going through something difficult. Call a trained volunteer at Samaritans. It’s completely confidential and free. Call them on 116 123.
“Learn more about what you can do if you’re having thoughts about self-harm or suicide.”
That’s right – someone told Facebook they thought my post, about a woman pushed so far by government victimisation that she set fire to herself, meant I might be planning something similar, and Facebook never bothered to check. That is insulting.
Then I received this:
“The post below was removed because we’re concerned it that might encourage or promote self-harm or suicidal behavior.
“We hope you’ll understand why we removed it. This policy and the other Facebook Community Standards were created to help keep Facebook a positive and safe place for everyone.
“A woman set fire to herself in a Tory council office, apparently in protest at her treatment by the government. The incident has been hidden from us. Why?”
There was no opportunity to complain – only a box for me to click, saying “OK”.
It isn’t “OK”!
And here’s a further insult. Once I clicked that box (there was no alternative available), I got this:
“Mike, can we help?
“If you’re going through a difficult time and want support, we’d like to help.
“Talk to a Friend
“Message or call someone you trust.
“Contact a Helpline
“They can listen and help you work through this.
“Get Tips and Support
“See suggestions of ways to support yourself.”
This is beyond the pale.
I have written to Facebook, pointing out that nothing in my article or the links to it suggest any consideration of or endorsement of self-harm in any way whatsoever, and that I was pointing out an outrage caused by government injustice.
I went on to state that it is my opinion that the person who reported my post to Facebook did so for political motives, because they support the Conservative government’s campaign of hate against the vulnerable that may have led to the woman mentioned in the article taking the action she did.
I indicated that this means Facebook, by taking down my post, was also endorsing the government’s campaign of victimisation against the vulnerable – and that Facebook was supporting the policies that led to this woman’s self-immolation.
Hiding that fact behind a veil of fake concern for my own well-being won’t impress anybody.
I am, of course, re-posting the link, and I would appreciate it if everybody reading this did the same. Here’s the relevant wording:
A woman set fire to herself in a Tory council office, apparently in protest at her treatment by the government. The incident has been hidden from us. Why?
Desperate woman self-immolates in a Tory-run council office. Where is the outrage? https://wp.me/p4Sru1-b9o
This kind of politically-motivated censorship – with an intention to cause harm – must not be tolerated.
The emergency services, newspapers and the government seem to have been colluding with each other to hide the deaths – by self-immolation – of benefit claimants who have been persecuted as a matter of government policy – to prevent the kind of social change triggered when Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon in June, 1963?
Why have the news media been playing down these incidents, that – if they happened abroad – would have sparked huge and justified civil unrest?
Where is their sense of responsibility – not only to the dead but to the living victims of Conservative government persecution?
And would any of them care to explain the disparity between the way foreign events have been reported and those here in the UK – is it really all down to the lack of a photograph of somebody in flames?
Yesterday (August 19) we learned that a woman aged in her 50s apparently tried to take her own life by setting herself alight in a housing office run by Conservative-controlled Barnet Council.
The last report we have is that this woman – who has not been named by the authorities – remains in critical condition.
Today we discover that this lady was lucky in comparison with retired builder Peter Sherwood, who set himself alight on the pavement of London Road North, Lowestoft, at around 5pm on September 4, 2015.
That’s right – nearly three years ago a man burned himself to death on a busy shopping street in a British town during rush hour, and nobody thought it was worth mentioning.
The only information we have is from an inquest report in the Lowestoft Journal, published on April 28, 2017 – more than a year and a half after the incident took place.
Inquests don’t usually take so long. Why was this one dragged out?
The Lowestoft Journal report states that Mr Sherwood had been visited at home by his local community mental health team, who heard him express plans to end his own life and made an urgent appointment for him to see a psychiatrist the following week.
The fact that they did not take him to get help immediately is where the report seems to be suggesting any fault for the death lies. What about the reason he felt that way?
Here they are:
In a statement read during the hearing, Mr Sherwood’s niece Sarah Wilby said… Mr Sherwood was on Disability Living Allowance but he had received a letter informing him he needed to reapply for Personal Independence Payment, which she believed contributed to his heightened anger at that time.
Now consider this:
Coroner Peter Dean read statements from witnesses, who described seeing Mr Sherwood spraying something on the pavement starting with the letter ‘h’ with an aerosol can.
Mr Sherwood then set himself on fire. Members of the public tried to douse the flames by throwing their jackets onto Mr Sherwood, and using a fire extinguisher from a nearby shop.
Police at the scene reported Mr Sherwood had muttered the word “humanity” to them a couple of times after the incident.
So he was pleading for humanity from the authorities, or complaining about the lack of humanity being shown to him. Would it be unreasonable to suggest such a thing?
… Especially in light of the fact that we have evidence showing that huge numbers of disability benefit claimants have complained about the Conservative government’s inhuman treatment of them.
Mr Sherwood, of High Street, Lowestoft, had a long history of recurrent depressive disorder and psychosis and had attempted suicide several times in the past.
This is all-too-familiar.
We are left with evidence that people across the UK have been self-immolating over a period of years, because of the Tory government’s lack of “humanity” towards them – and that those with the ability to bring this horror to the attention of the public have been deliberately covering it up.
Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in Tunisia in December 2010, sparking a series of revolutions in Arab countries. British people were outraged by the event at the time. But what happened when a British woman set herself alight in a British government office? Nothing.
When Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in Tunisia in December 2010, he became the catalyst of the Arab Spring – a series of revolutions against oppressive regimes in the Arab world.
The street vendor was driven to self-immolation by the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides.
The event was well-reported, supported by photographs of the event, and sparked such outrage among Tunisians that protests began within hours, building in frequency and intensity over the weeks that followed and becoming widespread after Mr Bouazizi’s death on January 4, 2011 – to the point at which President Ben Ali fled the country, ending 23 years of his rule.
Last Wednesday – four days ago – a woman set fire to herself in a housing office run by Conservative-held Barnet Council. It went unreported by the press and there have been no protests. Why?
On June 11, 1963, a Buddhist monk named Thích Quảng Đức burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection, in protest at South Vietnam’s persecution of Buddhists.
Again, there was photographic evidence.
Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon in June, 1963. His protest was against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnamese president Ngô Đình Diệm, who was deposed by that country’s army and assassinated that November.
US President John F Kennedy, who had been a supporter of Ngô Đình Diệm, saw the photograph when he was passed the morning newspapers while on the phone to his brother Robert. He reportedly interrupted their conversation about segregation in Alabama by exclaiming “Jesus Christ!” And he later remarked that “no news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one”.
There is no photograph of the woman who self-immolated in Barnet Council’s housing office. If there had been, would the newspapers have reported it? Or would they have hushed it up?
Fortunately, we have the following report from Skwawkbox, otherwise we would know nothing about it:
The parent of an eyewitness described the incident:
“My daughter took her mother to an appointment at Barnet Council ( Tory) housing office yesterday afternoon. They were being interviewed in a side room when they heard a commotion. Someone came and told them to leave the building.
“When they left the room they saw flames on front of them in the waiting room. A woman had set fire to herself. Everybody was just turfed out after witnessing this terrible ordeal. She said that those outside were in severe shock but left to their own devices.
“There hasn’t been a word about this in the news or local news. This is Tory Britain . How often is this happening and going unreported? My daughter was still very upset and had to spend the night with her mum.”
Visit Skwawkbox to see video of emergency vehicles outside Barnet House.
When the site’s writer, Steve Walker, contacted police for information, he was told there had been no inquiries about the incident from anybody in the local press.
Eventually, he received the following information: “Police were called by the London Ambulance Service to Barnet House, High Road N20 at around 15:44hrs on Wednesday, 15 August after reports of a female suffering from burns injuries.
“Officers attended with LAS and the London Fire Brigade.
“A female, aged in her 50s, was taken to a London hospital before being transferred to a specialist burns unit in Essex.
“She remains in a critical but stable condition.”
When people set fire to themselves in other countries, the incidents were well-documented by the press, and the governments against which they were protesting fell soon afterwards.
But here in the UK – an allegedly-civilised country – a woman pushed into desperation by government persecution (why else would she do it in a Tory housing office?) can set herself on fire and suffer injuries that put her health in critical condition…
… and nobody bats an eyelid.
Is it really because we haven’t seen a photograph of her burning body?
Are we all really so shallow – so insensitive – that we need to see the horror before we can react to it?
Fortunately, now that Skwawkbox has published its report, word is getting out and people are starting to respond – and they are angry at the lack of response from the press.
It is possible that the local – and national – news media did not know about the incident because it had not been reported to them by any member of the public. But the emergency services have a duty to report major incidents and it is alarming that they did not.
People in positions of power must now account for themselves.
And we need to know, not only who the casualty is, but why she did what she did. Does she have relatives? Friends? What do they have to say about this?
If anybody in Barnet, who has information, is reading this, get in touch.
ADDITIONAL: It turns out the story was reported, by the Times series of newspapers in the area. The manner of the report is – well, see for yourself.
Nye Bevan News also has a piece, but it’s the comments by the relative of an eyewitness, as quoted above, along with a plea for the facts to be brought to public attention.
At the time of writing, I published this article about an hour ago and it has been read nearly more than 6,000 times. We’re getting there.
According to The Guardian, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan wants to make it compulsory for schools to place their pupils into ‘sets’ dictated by their academic ability.
The move may be controversial as it may be argued that it helps those with higher ability and leaves the rest behind.
However, as someone who was educated in a school that ran a ‘setting’ system, Yr Obdt Srvt can see advantages as well. It would minimise disruption caused by pupils of lesser ability who may be confused by more difficult lessons – and disruption by pupils of greater ability who may be bored by simpler lessons. It would also be helpful to separate pupils with high academic ability from this with vocational ability, making it possible to teach each pupil according to their strengths.
Other arguments – for both sides – are also available. But what do you think? Here’s the poll:
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.